*This dining experience took place in May 2018.
Dinner at Animator’s Palate
On day one of our cruise on the Disney Dream, we dined at Animator’s Palate. This is one of three main restaurants available through Disney’s rotational dining, which changes nightly on your cruise. Because we had reservations at Remy on our last night, I made sure to request Animator’s Palate be on one of our first nights of rotation on the cruise. Of course, requests are not always possible, but we were glad this one was. Animator’s Palate is probably one of the most well-known restaurants on Disney Cruise Line, with its unique theming and “show” that goes on throughout the meal. Having dined here in 2014, I knew this was a must-do with Brandon on his first cruise.
The theming is what makes Animator’s Palate so popular. Every Disney Cruise Line ship has an Animator’s Palate, but each one is a bit different. On the Disney Dream, you’ll find a Finding Nemo and Turtle Talk with Crush inspired theme and show.
The art of animation is the theme at Animator’s Palate. Even the menu animates as you hold it up and down. Pretty neat!
As you arrive for your dinner at Animator’s Palate, you’ll see bright and vibrant pops of color and tons of art throughout the restaurant.
Brandon and I were seated at table 61 throughout our cruise. Most cruise restaurant seating pairs you with other guests, and you share tables. However, you can request to be seated only with your party in advance, which is what we did. This made for a low-key and relaxing meal with just the two of us at our table. I loved that our table number looked like a canister for paint brushes!
Throughout the meal, the restaurant not only comes to life with interactive talks with Crush, but the color also changes depending on where you are in your meal.
As you can see, the lights changed from dramatically throughout the meal.
On my last visit to Animator’s Palate, I’ll be honest, I didn’t love the food. I thought it was OK, but nothing special. This trip was slightly improved in terms of the food, but I still wasn’t wowed by the overall experience. Brandon enjoyed his meal a lot, so I think it may be due to the limited gluten free options on the menu.
Our servers at our main dining each night were Noel and Juni. They did a really great job at ensuring we both had safe options and making good recommendations. I have to admit that the dishes Noel recommended were typically the best ones I had.
Up first, he brought some Ener-G rolls, which are both gluten free and dairy free. They were heated much better than our at our embarkation lunch at Enchanted Garden, so I was pleased with that.
For my appetizers, I tried two options. The first Jumbo Shrimp Salad with Poached Tiger Shrimp tossed in a Lemon Olive Oil, served on diced Cucumber, Egg and Red Onion and garnished with Roquette Leaves. Oddly, this dish is marked gluten free, but not dairy free. When asked I was told that it was not marked dairy free because there is egg in it. They said the same thing to me when we dined at Animator’s Palate in 2014, so it’s amazing to me that they still haven’t updated it or realize the difference between dairy and egg. So, for those who are dairy free, this is technically a dairy free dish, and it’s worth asking about.
While I wouldn’t say this was my favorite dish, I did like the freshness of the salad and the shrimp with dill. It’s definitely a decent salad option, though I’d like to see a bit more flavor in the dish. It just seemed bland.
Because I have reintroduced dairy back into my diet, Noel also suggested that I try the Smoked Salmon Tartar with Dill, Capers, Onions, Pickles, and a Horseradish Cream. It is marked gluten free on the menu. He said this is his favorite appetizer, and honestly, it did not disappoint. It was delicious. If you can have dairy, this is a fantastic appetizer. Pretty sure I could eaten this appetizer every night of the cruise. It was that good.
For my entree, I ordered Lemon-Thyme Marinated All Natural Chicken Breast on top of Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Root Vegetables and Grain Mustard Jus. This is marked gluten free on the menu but does contain dairy. I thought this dish was just OK. The roasted root vegetables appeared to be all beets, which are not my favorite, and the chicken was fairly overcooked. I wouldn’t say it was terrible by any means. But, I probably should have just ordered the the sirloin steak with garden vegetables and potatoes on the Lighter Note Offerings portion of the menu that Noel recommended.
Brandon ordered the Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin served on Wasabi Mashed Potatoes with Bok Choy and a Tamarind Barbecue Reduction and really thought his steak was well-done. So, next time, I’ll probably stick to steak.
Throughout our meal, our server Noel gave us some puzzle challenges. This one involved us having to figure out how to move one crayon that would change the direction of the crayon giraffe he created for us. I’m not going to lie, we were not very good at these puzzles!
For dessert, Noel brought me the Crunch Walnut Cake with Dark Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Coulis. This is marked gluten free on the menu and does contain dairy. I only ate a bit of this cake, but I liked it a lot. The best part was definitely the walnuts on the bottom of the cake. For those with special dietary needs, always check with your server for options, as they had another chocolate cake, ice cream, and even sorbet as options on the night I visited Animator’s Palate.
The theming at Animator’s Palate really can’t be beat, and it’s a restaurant we have to dine at on each visit just for that. But, I wouldn’t say the food options I have had have been amazing there (except the salmon tartare I had, which was outstanding). The food options have been decent, but just not my personal preference. Still, I have to give major kudos to my server team for always making sure that we had safe options.
Have you been to Animator’s Palate? What did you think of your dining experience there?